Both of these instances show how you guided others through challenging experiences by relying on your leadership skills. This value can also be strongly related to impact and community.
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In many instances, leadership skills can be connected to a professional endeavor that helped a company create value for others. This is a great way to show how helping others revealed or helped you train your own leadership skills. During university, I came to understand this while mentoring a group of underprivileged students. Despite wanting to attend school, my students often missed class due to active shootouts between gangs and police, on top of the many other challenges of living in favelas.
Here, our client Conrado used his experiences of mentoring others to understand his ability for impactful leadership. This could easily overlap with either of the two suggestions above. Often, recognizing a problem — either in your personal life or professional environment — and deciding to do something about it is a great way to demonstrate leadership. Especially if the problem was something nobody else had identified — or even blatantly denied existed — your will to take the steps to fix it might be the perfect way to show your potential as a leader.
A sense of community and working in teams is an essential value for many top MBA programs. Highlighting your leadership role does not mean you were working individually or only at the head of a team. Leadership can be also demonstrated through teamwork.
An important part of teamwork is being a team member who is not afraid to speak up, proactively solve problems, or put new ideas on the table. By taking on a leadership role, even a minor one, within your community or team, you help further collective success. This is an awesome quality to demonstrate in your MBA essay.
This can be a great opportunity to utilize extra-professional examples in your MBA essays. Take a look at another strategy Bruno used in one of his Columbia Business School essays:. All members of the expedition are feeling mental exhaustion, but we fight it with team spirit. I nod heads with each member, making sure signals are clear. Each and every one of us is responsible for encouraging the others not to give up and for knowing when to tell a teammate to stop because going forward might risk their life.
Lucky for all of us, now is not that time. Here, Bruno does an excellent job utilizing storytelling to help show how he is a leader within the group. As you can see, leadership can be evident even in stories of personal and group achievement. Good leadership is not just about making data-backed decisions. Much more, it entails using your intuition to navigate the complicated worlds of interpersonal communication, timing, and networking.
For example, you could demonstrate leadership by telling the story of how your confidence in a subordinate helped them grow to become a more mature professional and enrich your team as a whole. It may also manifest itself through the idea to start a new business, despite not knowing if you will reach success. For example, spending a year in a foreign country can help you understand intercultural connotations of business in ways you could never have experienced before or how to communicate in completely new ways.
Demonstrating leadership by getting out of your comfort zone can be expanded to experiences about polishing foreign language skills, helping international colleagues understand your home region, or expanding a business internationally. All of these can reveal and train global leadership skills and intercultural competencies — something all schools are looking for in their candidates. Of course, we cannot forget the most obvious way to demonstrate leadership.
If you have taken on an explicit leadership position within your company or organization, this is a great way to express this value to the admissions committee. Professional leadership positions can include leading teams, guiding clients through transformation processes, presenting results to senior leadership, or taking on a senior leadership position itself.
MBA Essays: Four Leadership Examples
If you have had experiences like this, be sure to include them — and the challenges you faced — in your MBA admissions essay. These ideas not only help you demonstrate leadership in your MBA essay, they might also give you bonus points for connecting leadership to other values a school might share, like community, innovation, teamwork, creativity, and a drive to make an impact. Naturally, just explaining one of the above situations in your essay will not cut it.
There are a few other things that you should keep in mind and try to apply when focusing on leadership in your MBA essay. Telling a story that thoroughly highlights your leadership role does not automatically mean it will be compelling. Often, candidates fail to show how leadership was necessary — in other words, what the problem was that required them to take on a leadership position in the first place. That is where storytelling — and specifically the STAR method — comes in. The STAR method will help you highlight not just the problem that you faced, but also your specific role in solving it that led to success.
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If you want to make your story about leadership convincing, you must include all of these elements. This translates to:. Situation — clearly presenting the context for your story. Task — demonstrating that there was a problem to be solved or a challenge to be faced.
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- How to show leadership in MBA essays and interviews: Focus on these 3 types | MBA Crystal Ball.
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Action — showing exactly what you did to solve that problem or overcome that challenge. Results — the outcome of your actions. This can range from personal growth to helping other individuals to producing company-wide results. Situation Once the boom of social media started, I saw the opportunity to leverage this technology to improve our business — this could attract more customers, increase revenues, and keep our financials organized. Using STAR is a great way to make your leadership role very clear throughout your essay and utilize storytelling strategies successfully. At Ellin Lolis Consulting , we believe that one of the keys to a compelling essay is effective storytelling.
How to show leadership in MBA essays and interviews: Focus on these 3 types
Your MBA essay is the place to discuss your personal achievements. Telling a story about leadership that does not thoroughly explain your part will not be a good demonstration of leadership. This means that it is important to show the admissions committee what you specifically did in your story.
Just saying that you were part of a team that produced fantastic results will not achieve this. Instead, you must show them how your work — what you did and how you did it — was essential for collective or individual success. We have already established that leadership can manifest itself in many different forms, and that admissions committees see it that way, too.
MBA Essay Tips for writing about leadership skills
This means that the adcom is not only looking for your professional leadership experiences — or that they will condemn you for demonstrating leadership in your personal life. In fact, a good mix helps the adcom understand that you have a well-rounded, flexible understanding of what leadership means. To do so, she included the following stories in her Berkeley Haas essays :.
This is also a great way to show a clear pattern of leadership. When writing your MBA essay, it is good to not just show a single instance of leadership, but instead to demonstrate a tendency towards it using multiple stories.
For example, you could show how you led a school club as a teenager, started a project at an NGO during college, and went on to lead recruiting initiates at your current consulting firm. This way, the adcom has a number of examples to go on to understand that you will make for a good leader in the future.
Often, the greatest way to demonstrate a pattern of leadership is by establishing it via your central theme. A theme is a great way to connect your message to your reader.
A theme is a central topic that is reinforced throughout your essay via one or more stories. If you are curious about how to effectively apply a theme in your MBA essay, check out this article. Many candidates decide to use leadership as their central theme in one or more of their essays. In any project, there are Minimum viable performance indicators — minimum number of sales, minimum acceptable feature list, the minimum number of marketing channels to propagate your brand message or minimum number of prospects you approach before a sale. Whatever job function you might have led, communicating survival goals is key to motivating the team.